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Glasersfeld E. von (1974) Jean Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology
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Sebeok T. A.
von Uexküll T.
A semiotic perspective on the sciences: Steps toward a new paradigm.
Semiotics has itself thrived in a generative atmosphere of specialization and synthesis. Now, in an expanding intellectual universe, we converge with several other strains of scholarship. In this brief paper, we not only acknowledge this convergence and complementarity, but actively welcome the emerging rapprochement, which we interpret as representing a radical shift in scientific paradigm. This conceptual revolution transcends a dichotomous Cartesian, analytic view of the world, in the direction of a view embracing the whole, respecting complexity, and fostering synthesis.
annual international conference
The give and take between semiotics and second-order cybernetics.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4150
In this paper, I describe what I consider to be some of the similarities between semiotics and second-order cybernetics. Particular attention is paid to the importance of interpretation and recursion in both fields. A distinction is made between the concept of representation in representational realism and representation as the stand-for relationship. Two models derived from cybernetic theory, ‘a recursive theory of communication’ and ‘levels of experience, ’ are discussed from a semiotic perspective and possible educational implications are described
Cybersemiotics and Umweltlehre.
I want to show how important Uexküll’s Umwelt idea was for Konrad Lorenz ethology, how Maturana and Varela’s autopoietic concept of cognitive domain is an attempt to give a modern second order cybernetic and functionalistic development of important aspects of Uexküll’s idea with its biological theory of the observer in a general system’s evolutionary framework. Interestingly, Luhmann extended this theory into the social and linguistic domain, making it the foundation of a general theory of communication and cognition. But even this cybernetics theory of the living system’s cognition and communication do not have a true phenomenological theory of signification/semantics, which was immanent in Uexküll’s concept. Hence I work to unite second order cybernetics with Peirce’s pragmaticist semiotics within the area of biosemiotics, combining them with Wittgenstein’s language game theory and Lakoff s cognitive semantics in order to make a new transdisciplinary framework for information, cognitive, and communication sciences. I call this new framework Cybersemiotics.
The construction of information and communication: A cybersemiotic reentry into Heinz von Foerster’s metaphysical construction of second-order cybernetics.
This article praises the development of second order cybernetics by von Foerster, Maturana, and Varela as an important step in deepening our un- derstanding of the bio-psychological foundation of the dynamics of information, cognition, and communication. Luhmann’s development of the theory into the realm of social communication is seen as a necessary and important move. The triple autopoietic differentiation between biological, psychologi- cal, and social-communicative autopoiesis and the introduction of a technical concept of meaning is central. Finally, the paper shows that second order cybernetics lacks explicit and ontological concepts of emotion, meaning, and a concept of signs. C. S. Peirce’s theory is introduced for this purpose. It is then shown, through Varela’s development of Spencer Brown’s ‘Laws of Form’ from a dual to a dynamic triadic categorical structure, that both theories are triadic and second order, and therefore can be fruitfully fused to a Cybersemiotics.
Does a robot have an Umwelt? Reflections on the qualitative biosemiotics of Jakob von Uexküll.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/4718
I will investigate the plausibility of three theses: (1) The Umwelt theory of Jakob von Uexküll, even though his theoretical biology was often characterized as being thoroughly vitalist, can in the context of contemporary science, more adequately be interpreted as a branch of qualitative organicism in theoretical biology. Qualitative organicism is a position which claims, first, a kind of middle road position, that is, on the one hand, there are no mysterious or non-material vital powers in organisms (non-vitalism), but on the other hand, the characteristic properties of living beings cannot be fully accounted for by physics and chemistry because these properties are nonreducible emergent properties (emergentism); second, that some of these emergent pro- perties have an experiential, phenomenal, or subjective character which plays a major role in the dynamics of the living system. Modern bio- semiotics (inspired by C. S. Peirce and Jakob von Uexküll, instituted by Thomas A. Sebeok) is a kind of qualitative organicism. (2) This position sheds light on recent discussions in cognitive science, artificial life, and robotics about the nature of representation and cognition – indeed genuine semiotic questions as they deal with the role of information and signs for any system that has the property of being ‘animal-like,’ that is, systems that move by themselves and seem to be guided by a kind of entelechy or, in modern but shallow terms, a behavioral program. (3) Particularly, qualitative organicism allows us to approach the question of whether a robot can have an Umwelt in the sense that Jakob von Uexküll used the term (a subjectively experienced phenom- enal world) The eventuality of a positive answer to this question, i.e., a claim that a robot indeed can have an Umwelt, seems counterintuitive to the extent that a robot may be seen as – to use a bewildering word – an incarnation of the mechanical and reductionist world picture to which Jakob von Uexküll was so strongly opposed. But certain ideas and concepts may sometimes lead us to unexpected consequences, which threaten our cherished metaphysical assumptions, and we should try to face such questions with an open mind.
G. V. V.
Psychic closure: A prerequisite for the recognition of the sign-function.
I aim at understanding what it is for psychic systems, qua living systems, to realize the sign-function, and what it is for them to genuinely recognize that something stands for something else. Are their various ways of psychically realizing and/or recognizing the sign-function? What are the developmental and systemic or structural conditions leading to those capacities? Moreover, I want to understand the relationship between realizing and recognizing the sign-function for psychic systems. Is the recognizing a precondition for the realizing or is it the other way around?
G. V. V.
Psychic closure: A prerequisite for the recognition of the sign-function?
127(1/ 4): 613–631.
Glasersfeld E. von
”Because” and the concepts of causation.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/1321
German translation: Chapter 4 in
Glasersfeld E. von (1987) Wissen, Sprache und Wirklichkeit
, Chapter 2 in
Glasersfeld E. von (1987) The construction of knowledge: Contributions to conceptual semantics
On semiosis, Umwelt, and semiosphere.
Jakob von Uexküll: An introduction.
Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2405
The interest in Jakob von Uexküll in semiotics is obvious – he was a starter and pioneer of the semiotic approach in biology in thetwentieth century. The extension of semiotics from humanities, wheresemiotics has been centered during the period of its most intensive develo-pment, to the field of biology, has taken place gradually, with the mostdecisive steps taken onlyvery recently. The conclusion of this development is most fundamental – sign systems embrace all living systems, and the roots of semiotics lie in biology. On the other hand, Uexküll’s main ideawas to build up a biology which can handle the vital processes, and whichcan include the subject, the living self; or life itself, in the sense of Robert Rosen…
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